Recent estimates put the number of vegetarians in the world at close to 400 million. So where do those plant-based eaters congregate, and which cities are the very best for vegetarians? Check out these global capitals of meat-free foodie fare around the world.
1. Portland, Oregon
Reliably rated as one of the best cities in the world for vegetarians and vegans (and often regarded as the top choice), Portland has stellar meat-free options. Choices range from an all-vegan donut shop to fine vegan dining requiring advance tickets — and everything in between (even a few vegan strip clubs, for the curious!). The problem in Portland for vegetarians might indeed be fitting every worthy vegan destination — which includes the world’s only vegan shopping block — into a trip to the lush city.
2. Berlin, Germany
Germans might be well known for bratwurst, but the vegetarian and vegan movements are stronger in Berlin than just about any other city. With over 320 vegetarian friendly restaurants in the city, those who eschew the sausages and even the cheeses will have zero problem finding delicious and diet-suitable food in Berlin. You can even get vegan kabobs and doners!
3. Los Angeles, California
In a health conscious city like L.A., it should come as no surprise that there are a ton of plant-based folks and restaurants that cater to them. You can grab nutrition-packed smoothies readily in the Los Angeles area, but you can also make reservations for seriously classy meat-free dining options. And there’s lots in between. Not to mention that Los Angeles hosts several vegan street fairs and festivals each year that draw in veggie travelers from near and far.
4. London, England
While it’s not always easy to find vegan and vegetarian options outside of London, the bustling city itself has plenty to offer those who don’t eat animals. Consider the all-vegan grocery store Organic for The People. You can do vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, shop for vegan products, and even get your hair done at a vegan salon while in London.
5. Austin, Texas
Despite being in the land of barbecue, brisket, pulled pork, and all things steak (let’s be honest: Texans are big on meat), Austin is becoming increasingly friendly for vegetarian and vegan eaters who live in and visit the city. With a handful of fully vegan options and plant-based alternatives to traditional Texan and Tex-Mexican meat-filled fare, it’s hardly a problem to grab a vegetarian or vegan bite in any central Austin neighborhood.
6. Chennai, India
With around half of the population eating a vegetarian diet, India has long been a destination friendly to meat-free diners. But the country’s south is more friendly to vegan eating and Chennai has plenty of options for completely plant-based eating. There are plenty of street food options and sit-down restaurants and even a group that meets regularly for vegans who live in the city.
7. New York City, New York
In a city as large and as multicultural as New York City, naturally there are tons of vegetarian and vegan options. NYC excels in fine dining — no exception for vegan and vegetarian food. Restaurants like Blossom and Candle 79 are decadent, elegant, and totally plant based. There are also plenty of options for more casual bites and vegan shopping, like the all-vegan shoe store Moo Shoes.
8. Bangkok, Thailand
Much of the core Thai cuisine is already dairy free, and it’s usually not a problem to get tofu or meatless dishes instead of meat ones. If you can communicate well enough to make sure that eggs and fish sauces aren’t used, you’ll be golden for dining at lots of places throughout the city. What’s even better is that there is a great selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Bangkok and throughout Thailand. You can hunt down Jay (or “Jey”) restaurants, as well. These cater to Jain monks, and while they can sometimes strike visitors as a little bland, the purpose of these buffet-style restaurants is to offer cleansing foods. You can duck into one of these for veggie staples like rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
9. Vancouver, Canada
Like the majority of the Pacific Northwest larger towns and cities, Vancouver is known for its emphasis on a health-conscious lifestyle. Because of this, vegetarian and vegan options abound. From food carts and a zero-waste cafe to pizza with vegan cheese that actually tastes good, you’ll have no trouble finding plant-based options in this sparking British Columbia city.
10. Melbourne, Australia
As one of the rising vegan capitals of the world, it’s sure nice to see vegetarian eating so embraced in Oceania. Not only are most vegetarians and vegans in Australia gravitating toward Melbourne, but veggie-inclined travelers are putting this city on their travel lists, as well. You can get all kinds of vegetarian and vegan food when in Melbourne, but the emphasis on health consciousness is real and you should take advantage of it! Load up on the salads, soups, and smoothies and detox your way through vacation.
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